Ingalls Urgent Aid
CAPITOL RECAP: Bill signings continue as governor nears deadline

CAPITOL RECAP: Bill signings continue as governor nears deadline

By Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker has been steadily acting on more than 660 bills sent to him by the General Assembly this year ahead of a weekend deadline for bill action.

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, he signed House Bill 2595, which beginning in 2023 requires insurers to provide coverage to all medically necessary mental health care in Illinois, including for mental, emotional, nervous or substance use disorders.

He also signed House Bill 2784 to create a mental health first responder system in coordination with an emergency mental and behavioral health phone system that was created by federal law.

The Division of Mental Health of the state’s Department of Human Services is preparing to coordinate mental and behavioral health services to all Illinoisans as part of the federally mandated adoption of the 988 phone number. The number is expected to go online by July 2022.

The new law will require 911 call center operators to coordinate with the mobile mental and behavioral health services that are being established through the Division of Mental Health, which is also establishing regional advisory committees in each Emergency Medical Services region.

Sex education: Pritzker on Friday signed Senate Bill 818, which creates a new “personal health and safety” curriculum for grades K-5, and a “sexual health education” curriculum for grades 6-12. The bill received resistance from Republican lawmakers and religious groups for its “culturally appropriate” guidelines, including education on gender identities, different types of families, sexual orientation, consent and a woman’s options during pregnancy.

Parents can opt their students out of the coursework without penalty, and each individual school district may determine whether it will teach sex education. If a district offers the subject, the curriculum must use all or part of the curriculum established by the bill.

The actual statewide curriculum would be developed by the Illinois State Board of Education by Aug. 1, 2022.

But many of the guidelines contained in the statute require that sex ed curricula be aligned with National Sex Education Standards, an initiative by non-government organizations to provide “guidance on essential minimum core content and skills needed for sex education that is age-appropriate.”

The guidelines, for example, require students by the end of second grade be able to define consent, personal boundaries, child sexual abuse and how to report child sexual abuse to a trusted adult.

Sexting education: The governor also signed House Bill 24, requiring classes that teach sex education to include an age-appropriate discussion regarding sexting. That discussion would include information on possible consequences of sharing, possessing or forwarding sexually explicit content, as well as the importance of internet safety. It took effect immediately.

Construction transparency: Pritzker signed House Bill 253, which requires the Illinois Department of Transportation to establish and implement a transportation performance program for state projects. IDOT is also required to develop a statewide highway system asset management plan aimed at preserving and improving roadways while reducing costs. The department is instructed to develop a performance-based process for selecting which projects will be prioritized. The bill passed both the House and Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support. It applies after January 2022.

Journalism task force: Pritzker signed Senate Bill 134, creating a Local Journalism Task Force made up of 13 individuals representing print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government. The group will study communities underserved by local journalism, as well as reviewing print and digital business models, the impact of social media and how to improve news access. It takes effect January 2022.

Underage e-cig sales: Pritzker signed Senate Bills 512 and 555, prohibiting e-cigarette and vaping marketing that targets children and ensuring vape shop compliance with the state’s minimum purchasing age of 21. The law allows underage individuals to test a retailer’s compliance as part of a compliance check in conjunction with law enforcement. They will go into effect January 2022.

Maternal health: One Pritzker amendatory veto aims to fix a technical issue on a bill he noted he supports. The measure, Senate Bill 967, will expand the current Illinois Medicaid plan “so that individuals who don’t qualify for full benefit Medicaid still have coverage for preventive contraceptive care and associated screenings related to reproductive well-being,” according to the governor’s office.

The bill passed unanimously, so it shouldn’t be difficult for sponsors to find the votes to accept the amendatory veto, which changes only an effective date.

State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, the bill’s Senate sponsor, noted in a news release when the bill passed that it also “would provide support for pregnant and new mothers for pregnancy-related condition, including mental health and substance use disorders by requiring private insurance plans to cover postpartum complications up to one year after delivery among other requirements.”

Pollution control: While lawmakers passed House Bill 3190 to limit disposal by “incineration” of certain substances, Pritzker said in a veto message the definition of “incineration” is too broad, creating unforeseen increases to greenhouse gas emissions. He urged lawmakers to pass another bill with the same intent but clearer language.

Wetland protection: Pritzker vetoed Senate Bill 1770, which exempts construction within a 6-mile radius of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers confluence from the provisions of the Interagency Wetland Policy Act of 1989. He said while he’s a strong supporter of a port district project in the area, the bill “would unnecessarily turn the determination of appropriate wetland mitigation over to the Federal Government by severely restricting the State of Illinois’ involvement in the process.”

Duplicative bill: He also vetoed House Bill 1966, noting in his veto message that he already signed Senate Bill 1646, a “similar bill with more expansive provisions” which extends an application deadline pertaining to members of the Teachers’ Retirement System at a private school recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education.

* * *

GOP: FIRE PRITZKER: Republicans rallied at the Illinois State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 19, with their eyes firmly set on trying to regain control of Congress and winning back the governor’s office in 2022.

Several hundred of the party faithful gathered at the fairgrounds under a hot sun, waving “Fire Pritzker” placards, to eat barbeque and hear messages from members of the state’s congressional delegation, legislative leaders and officials from the state party and Republican National Committee.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in blue states this year and I like what I’ve seen,” RNC Co-Chairman Tommy Hicks, of Texas, said at the rally. “I’ve been in the state of Washington, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and now Illinois. Every event is packed. The excitement is real. And the enthusiasm is firmly on the Republican side.”

Despite the enthusiasm on display at the annual Republican Day gathering at the fair, the Illinois GOP faces an uphill battle in the 2022 elections. The party holds a superminority in the General Assembly, and no Republican has won a statewide race since former Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected in 2014.

In Congress, Democrats hold a narrow lead in both the House and Senate, and historically a new president’s party loses seats in their first midterm election. But because of the state’s population loss over the past 10 years, Illinois is losing one of its 18 congressional seats, and Democrats firmly in control of drawing the new maps are expected to do it in a way that collapses one of the downstate GOP districts.

* * *

STATEWIDE GOP RACES: Illinois’ GOP candidates for governor did not speak at the State Fair’s Republican Day Thursday, Aug. 19, although potential candidate and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis addressed the crowd along with other sitting congressmen.

Davis’ central Illinois district is one that is likely to change markedly when the General Assembly draws the new congressional maps. He has even said that depending on what the district looks like when the new maps are drawn, he might consider stepping down from Congress to run for statewide office, possibly for governor.

“I don’t know what my future holds because my future and the political future is going to depend upon what the corrupt Democrats in Springfield are going to do when they redraw our congressional map,” he told reporters Thursday. “I’ll know what I want to do in the future based upon what that battlefield looks like.”

Candidates Paul Schimpf, a former state senator and Republican attorney general candidate, Darren Bailey, a current state senator and Pritzker antagonist during the pandemic, and Gary Rabine, a suburban businessman, all spoke at the same GOP breakfast Thursday morning.

The only statewide office that will be an open seat next year is secretary of state, where incumbent Democrat Jesse White is stepping down at the end of a 22-year stint in that office. So far, no Republicans have formally announced a bid for that office, but state Rep. Dan Brady, of Bloomington, said Thursday he is seriously considering the race.

State Reps. Dan Brady, of Bloomington, and Tom Demmer, of Dixon, expressed interest in the office Thursday.

Republican voters will select their nominees for the 2022 races during primary elections on June 28. Illinois primaries are normally held in March of election years, but lawmakers pushed back the date of next year’s primaries due to delays in the redistricting process brought on by delays in the release of 2020 U.S. Census data.

* * *

AMBULANCE CARVEOUT: Stakeholders are calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to sign a bill that passed the General Assembly unanimously and would remove non-emergency ambulance services from the state’s Medicaid managed care program in favor of a fee-for-service model.

While an association group representing ambulance services says House Bill 684 is needed to counter arbitrary denials of claims by private insurers, the governor’s office and the state agency that oversees Medicaid expressed “serious concerns for patient safety and cost” as Pritzker continues to review the bill.

While the bill is a targeted carveout of ambulance services from the state’s Medicaid managed care program, or the privatization of Medicaid, it marks the latest catalyst for debate over the effectiveness of that program which was greatly expanded in 2017 under former Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Chris Vandenberg, president of the Illinois State Ambulance Association, said in a phone call Monday the bill was in response to the “arbitrary” denial of ambulance claims by Medicaid managed care organizations, or MCOs.

MCOs are private insurance companies that contract with the state to manage the care of individuals enrolled in Medicaid. Among other things, that involves working with patients to make sure they receive routine exams and preventive care, and coordinating services provided by their primary physicians and other specialists.

But Vandenberg charged that leads to MCOs padding profits through denial of claims.

Putting ambulances back in the fee-for-service system would allow providers to submit claims directly to the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which Vandenberg said would provide predictability and certainty to the billing process.

But Jamie Munks, a spokesperson for HFS, said in a statement the department “remains strongly opposed” to the ambulance carveout, “because it has the potential to negatively affect the quality of service, create longer wait times for medical transports and payment delays for providers, and could create confusion for customers and providers.”

Pritzker spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement the governor “will take the appropriate action” before this weekend’s deadline, but, “The administration is concerned that this legislation has the potential to disrupt care and reduce the quality of provided services to some of the most vulnerable Illinoisans.”

* * *

REDISTRICTING UPDATE: Lawmakers will head back to the Capitol on Tuesday, Aug. 31, to consider changes to the legislative maps that Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law earlier this year, Democratic leaders announced Friday, Aug. 20.

Those maps – which set the new boundaries for the 118 state House and 59 state Senate districts for the next decade – were passed based on survey data in May, as the full U.S. Census block-level numbers were not made available until Aug. 12. The release of that data, however, appears to show population deviations far exceeding the 10 percent threshold allowed under Supreme Court precedent, so some changes are necessary to put the maps in compliance.

The remap effort, which occurs every 10 years after the census, was a key talking point Thursday for Republicans during their day at the Illinois State Fair, which followed Governor’s Day, a celebration of Democrats, the day prior.

In the run-up to the legislative maps passing, GOP leaders warned that using survey data as opposed to the full census results would lead to the exact problem the maps now face.

But if Democrats would have waited on the census data, they would have missed a key deadline in the Illinois Constitution that would have put mapmaking in the hands of a bipartisan commission and possibly given Republicans a 50-50 shot at mapmaking control.

Republicans have filed a lawsuit asking a federal panel to send the matter to a commission as described in the constitution. On Thursday, the GOP filed a motion for summary judgement in light of the census data, an effort to send the matter to a commission and void the current version of the legislative maps.

But Democrats filed a motion on Thursday to dismiss the Republicans’ amended complaint, and another Friday seeking to halt the process until Sept. 1, after the one-day session.

In their court filing to dismiss, lawyers for the Democrats called the GOP effort to send the maps to a commission one “to exploit exigencies resulting from a global pandemic, which were out of the legislature’s control, for political gain.”

The matter is otherwise set for trial at the end of September.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

As always, the Man in Red is the star of the show at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wentworth Park, much to the delight of children of all ages. --File photo

Christmas calendar fills up quickly

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Last week, I wrote about two fun Yuletide events sponsored by our friends at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce: Snack With Santa and the first-ever Archer Avenue Cookie Walk. This week, I’ll write about a few more wonderful things happening right…

CRRNH_AllisonMangan_112421

Roadrunner to become a Badger

 

CRRNH_ClearingNightForce_120121

A quarter century of crime prevention

Celebrating a quarter century of crime prevention in Police Beat 812 (Clearing, west of Central Avenue), 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares (second from left) presents a City Council resolution to leading members of the Clearing Night Force, at a recent CAPS meeting. Pictured with the alderman are (from left) key CNF members John Kurtovitch, Marie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF December 1, 2021

A moment after ground was broken and tossed, smiles broke out among dignitaries celebrating PODER’s coming renovation. A computer-generated video offering a glimpse of what the new facility will look like is posted at southwestregionalpublishing.com. --Photo courtesy of Jorge Garza Norrick/JorgeTookYourPicture.com

New life for old city building

New PODER HQ to serve immigrants By Tim Hadac Ceremonial ground was broken on the west end of Gage Park last week to mark the coming renovation of a 94-year-old City of Chicago building and creation what is billed as Chicago’s first immigrant integration and job center. A lineup of political and business muscle…

UBAM President Anita Cummings and 22nd Ward Ald. Michael Rodriguez listen to feedback from UBAM members about the LeClaire redevelopment. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Dermot Connolly

UBAM leaders hear LeClaire Courts plan

May break ground in mid-2022 By Dermot Connolly The $400 million redevelopment plans for the former LeClaire Courts public housing site were laid out over lunch at a recent meeting of the United Business Association of Midway. Several dozen business owners and community representatives attended the Nov. 10 event at the Red Barrel restaurant on…

GSWNH SanadFoodDistribution_112621

Sanad feeds the hungry in Chicago Lawn

More than a thousand served By Kathy Headley Have faith. Keep going. It will all work out. That was the advice Fatima Abu Eid, director of Sanad Social Services, gave to her daughter Aber, who runs the Sanad Food Pantry, upon being notified that the Greater Chicago Food Depository would indeed be giving them hundreds…

Chicago Police Department

Robbery crew hits Back of the Yards

From staff reports A cluster of robberies in Back of the Yards has promoted police to issue a community alert. Police said the bandits “approach the victims in or near the alley and demand property. Offenders then would flee in dark colored SUV or a red vehicle.” Crime scenes include: 1700 block of West 49th…

GSWNH_OfficerYanez_112621

Hug for a hero

CPD Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. (dark shirt) receives a welcoming hug from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara, as Yanez’s family and friends shed tears of joy and applaud. Yanez walked into FOP Lodge 7 headquarters to pay a visit to his union brothers and sisters. Back in August, Yanez was shot…

Ray Stetz, of La Grange, talks with Township of Lyons Assessor Patrick Hynes (right) about possible property tax exemptions. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Township residents talk taxes with elected officials

By Steve Metsch Marek Gil, like many residents, has questions about his property taxes. Plenty of questions. Gil owns two properties, one in Hickory Hills and one in Justice. Asked if his taxes are too high, Gil replied: “Of course.” Gil, who resides in Justice, was among a group of residents who attended the “Coffee…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Cook County Sheriff ad.2
As always, the Man in Red is the star of the show at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wentworth Park, much to the delight of children of all ages. --File photo

Christmas calendar fills up quickly

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Last week, I wrote about two fun Yuletide events sponsored by our friends at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce: Snack With Santa and the first-ever Archer Avenue Cookie Walk. This week, I’ll write about a few more wonderful things happening right…

CRRNH_AllisonMangan_112421

Roadrunner to become a Badger

 

CRRNH_ClearingNightForce_120121

A quarter century of crime prevention

Celebrating a quarter century of crime prevention in Police Beat 812 (Clearing, west of Central Avenue), 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares (second from left) presents a City Council resolution to leading members of the Clearing Night Force, at a recent CAPS meeting. Pictured with the alderman are (from left) key CNF members John Kurtovitch, Marie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF December 1, 2021

A moment after ground was broken and tossed, smiles broke out among dignitaries celebrating PODER’s coming renovation. A computer-generated video offering a glimpse of what the new facility will look like is posted at southwestregionalpublishing.com. --Photo courtesy of Jorge Garza Norrick/JorgeTookYourPicture.com

New life for old city building

New PODER HQ to serve immigrants By Tim Hadac Ceremonial ground was broken on the west end of Gage Park last week to mark the coming renovation of a 94-year-old City of Chicago building and creation what is billed as Chicago’s first immigrant integration and job center. A lineup of political and business muscle…

UBAM President Anita Cummings and 22nd Ward Ald. Michael Rodriguez listen to feedback from UBAM members about the LeClaire redevelopment. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Dermot Connolly

UBAM leaders hear LeClaire Courts plan

May break ground in mid-2022 By Dermot Connolly The $400 million redevelopment plans for the former LeClaire Courts public housing site were laid out over lunch at a recent meeting of the United Business Association of Midway. Several dozen business owners and community representatives attended the Nov. 10 event at the Red Barrel restaurant on…

GSWNH SanadFoodDistribution_112621

Sanad feeds the hungry in Chicago Lawn

More than a thousand served By Kathy Headley Have faith. Keep going. It will all work out. That was the advice Fatima Abu Eid, director of Sanad Social Services, gave to her daughter Aber, who runs the Sanad Food Pantry, upon being notified that the Greater Chicago Food Depository would indeed be giving them hundreds…

Chicago Police Department

Robbery crew hits Back of the Yards

From staff reports A cluster of robberies in Back of the Yards has promoted police to issue a community alert. Police said the bandits “approach the victims in or near the alley and demand property. Offenders then would flee in dark colored SUV or a red vehicle.” Crime scenes include: 1700 block of West 49th…

GSWNH_OfficerYanez_112621

Hug for a hero

CPD Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. (dark shirt) receives a welcoming hug from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara, as Yanez’s family and friends shed tears of joy and applaud. Yanez walked into FOP Lodge 7 headquarters to pay a visit to his union brothers and sisters. Back in August, Yanez was shot…

Ray Stetz, of La Grange, talks with Township of Lyons Assessor Patrick Hynes (right) about possible property tax exemptions. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Township residents talk taxes with elected officials

By Steve Metsch Marek Gil, like many residents, has questions about his property taxes. Plenty of questions. Gil owns two properties, one in Hickory Hills and one in Justice. Asked if his taxes are too high, Gil replied: “Of course.” Gil, who resides in Justice, was among a group of residents who attended the “Coffee…

DVN Complete Auto Service House Ad
Reporter Mecy Circle House Ad